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Default CRPG Analyzer: A checklist for computer role-playing games

August 3rd, 2013, 16:36
As I said before I don't have a concrete goal - the journey is the reward.
The discussion about CRPG elements with CRPG enthusiasts sharpens the knowlege about CRPGs.

It is fascinating that most CRPG fans can judge easily after 10 min of playing that a game is a CRPG or not. But if you ask them why, you get very different answers or just a gut feeling

That said, the CRPG definition vers. 1.0 is coming, maybe I have the time in September to write a little article about it. Wulf and Arhu should help me

The database is just an idea at this moment.

The problem with a rating database at RPGDot.com were fanboys that rated their loved games high and others down.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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August 3rd, 2013, 20:02
The checklist lends itself nicely as a questionaire like the tests on OkCupid, for example the The 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Alignment Calculator Test. Those are lots of fun.

So for any given game in the database we could let users (or a reviewer) go through the checklist (enhanced with pretty related pictures so people don't get bored), and thereby get lots of cool CRPG info on lots of cool games.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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January 20th, 2014, 23:44
I push this up, because Kordanor still doesn't know what a CRPG is

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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February 19th, 2014, 04:33
Tried to apply the test to Icewind Dale. Used HiddenX's Wizardry 8 post and added Section III (Nice to Haves) from Arhu's pre-formatted .txt to model my post. My text is in green, the parts I wanted to strike out are red.

Icewind Dale 1 - CRPG-Test with Definition (V0.94)

The three core categories Character Development, Exploration and Story that need to be applied and quantified to determine if an interactive computerised game can be defined as a Computer Role Playing Game (hereafter referred to as CRPG) are listed to show the necessary component elements and qualifying factors. Any proposed or purported CRPG must contain all three core categories and their Must Have (MH) elements fulfilled to achieve CRPG status.

These core categories must maintain some form of progressive nature that will improve from when the game starts and leads to a conclusive game ending.

Each core category and the auxiliary category Combat also has a related Should Have (SH) sub list, the reviewer should make a comment if a sub list item is not fulfilled. Should one or more (SH) not be fulfilled the game is most likely a special CRPG (see Tags) or a CRPG light.

If all (SH) are fulfilled too there's no further discussion necessary -> the game is a true CRPG.

Optional elements are listed in the Nice to Have (NtH) list. With it you get precise information which optional CRPG elements are implemented in the game.
A general game info questionnaire is added too, to do some rating.
-> Link

A CRPG is a computer game that fulfills these criterions:

Character Development – (5/5)
Describes ways to change or enhance your characters in order to increase their effectiveness in the game.
  • Must Have – (3/3)
    C1: you can control one or more characters – yes, full control
    C2: you can progressively develop your characters' stats or abilities (=> e.g. through quests, exploration, conversation, combat, …) – yes, mostly combat
    C3: you can equip and enhance your characters with items you acquire – yes
  • Should Have – (2/2)
    C4: you can create your characters – yes
    C5: character development requires careful thought and planning – yes

Exploration – (6.5/8)
Includes how you can move through the game world, as well as everything you can find, see, manipulate or interact with, like locations, items and other objects.
  • Must Have – (3/3)
    E1: by exploring the gameworld you can find new locations – yes, linear exploration
    E2: you can find items that can be collected in an inventory (=> not only puzzle items) – yes, plenty
    E3: you can find information sources (=> e.g. NPCs, entities, objects that provide info) – yes
  • Should Have (3.5/5)
    E4: there are NPCs in the game – yes, limited number
    E5: you can choose a path (=> there is at least some branching) – no (afaik?)
    E6: you can manipulate the game world in some way (=> e.g. pull levers, push buttons, open chests, …) – yes (does it refer to "physical" opening of chests? or general container interaction )
    E7: the gameworld can affect your party (=> e.g. weather, traps, closed doors, poisoned areas, …) – yes
    E8: you may have to think or plan to progress or overcome obstacles (=> e.g. unlock locked areas, repair bridges, dispel barriers, …) – yes (extremely limited and easy)

Story(6/8)
Concerns all narrative elements like setting, lore, plot, characters, dialogue, quests, descriptions, storyline(s) and similar, including how you can interact with them.
  • Must Have – (3/3)
    S1: you can get info from information sources (=> e.g. hints, goals, quests, skills, spells, training, …) – yes
    S2: you can follow quests (=> there is at least one main quest) – yes
    S3: you can progress through connected events (= Story) – yes (don't 80% of the single player games qualify for this?)
  • Should Have – (3/5)
    S4: the story is influenced more or less by your actions – yes? Unclear – is it related to C&C?)
    S5: you can interact with information sources (=> e.g. NPC conversation, riddle statue question, …) – yes
    S6: you can make choices in those interactions – yes, limited
    S7: your choices have consequences – no
    S8: advancing in the story requires thought (=> e.g. irreversible choices, moral dilemma, riddles, …) – no

Combat – (3/3)
Describes how combat is influenced by elements of Character Development, Exploration and Story.
  • Should Have – (3/3)
    F1: Combat efficiency is in some way tied to character stats or abilities (=> e.g. amount of damage, chance to hit, weapon access, …) – yes
    F2: Combat works with some random elements (game internal dice rolls) – yes
    F3: Combat should be challenging (=> e.g. preparing, use of tactics or environment possible) – yes

IWD applicable tags:

Spoiler – II. (Informative) Tags

Spoiler – III. (Optional) Nice to Have: 55/115 = 47%



Any comments?

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
Last edited by Kostas; February 19th, 2014 at 04:59.
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February 19th, 2014, 04:54
Post #2
Didn't have the endurance to do the, in any case more review-like, Section IV. (Informative) General Game Info.

My own comments on the definition:

There's an incredible amount of detail in the current definition. To be honest, unless one is more generally opposed to a detailed definition the biggest hurdle is IMO the current vBulletin formating as there is no overstating just how big a pain in the ass it was getting the formating right.

The definition truly shines through its detail which is only manifested through the NtH list. The main problems (details and possibly vague wordings aside) with that and the actual content of the definition are IMHO:
  • Somewhat subjectively, some of the important bits don't show their face until well into the NtHs. I feel the social/interactive/(LARPing/CYOA?) aspect of games, and in the practical case of Icewind Dale my biggest problem with it was underrepresented in the MHs. That is manifested through it getting 75% of the MHs and just 47% of the NtHs.
  • The significant overlap in the NtHs. As I said I appreciate the detail and the nice and tidy categories of NtHs but I think plenty of fat could be cut off those which would both make the definition somewhat more succinct and would make applying it (testing) it much easier and arguable more likely. The example I have in my mind related to this point is how whether combat can be skipped or not is encountered ~3 times in the NtHs. There's also some overlap between MHs and NtHs.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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February 19th, 2014, 07:52
@Kostas

thank you for trying Def. 0.94 - nice effort.

So

Icewind Dale is a CRPG -> all MUST HAVEs fulfilled!
It is a linear Dungeon Crawler.

The Linearity shows, because the SHOULD HAVEs E5, S7 and S8 are violated.

The NTHs have some overlaps, because they are not part of the definition. They are only there to characterize the game further and more freely - a feature checklist - nothing more.

If I put social interactivity etc. in the MUST HAVEs early Wizardries and other early dungeon crawlers would not reach the CRPG tag.

PS:
the current vBulletin formating is a pain in the ass -> but it looks good, doesn't it?
I will answer some of your definition-questions later.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; February 19th, 2014 at 08:03.
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February 19th, 2014, 08:07
Cool, thanks for trying it out, Kostas! Incidentally I'm playing IWD too these days (LMK mode, i.e. Ranger, Mage, Fighter).

I like what you did with the colors. I agree that the current format requires a little too much work on the part of the reviewer. A form would help a lot with that I suppose.

E5: you can choose a path (=> there is at least some branching) no (afaik?)
Well, there are hubs like the Severed Hand where you can visit different towers and explore them, so to speak, in any order you wish. The game is fairly linear, but I wouldn't call it a railroad either, so I'd say it qualifies.
Character classes or development paths can be changed during the game. (does multiclassing count?)
I'd say yes, multiclassing counts.

As for the question marks in your text, we could add some examples like in other bullet points.

The example I have in my mind related to this point is how whether combat can be skipped or not is encountered ~3 times in the NtHs.
The reasoning for that was that combat is a meta category related to the other three categories. Your example actually shows this very well: you can avoid combat through stats in IWD (good for character development), but not through exploration or dialogue (bad for exploration and story). So just with these three points we can start to gauge where the (combat related) focus is in a game.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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February 19th, 2014, 09:18
I think for every application of this model, there should be a something like a "CRPG-score" at the end to have a simple and quick overview.

As in your model all MHs are mandatory for a game to be qualified as crpg, it wouldn't make sense to base the score on these, so it should be generated from the SHs only.

This can be done directly, which would mean equal weight for each SH.
In IWD there are 11.5/15 SHs satisfied, so that would make a CRPG-score of 77%.

A variation would be to generate a separate score for each category and get the mean from these scores. That would give equal weight to each category, indepentent from the number of its SHs.
In IWD it would be 100% for Character Development, 70% for Exploration, 60% for Story and 100% for Combat, which makes an average and a resulting CRPG-score of 83%.

For this CRPG-score not to be mixed up with a score representing the games quality (like in reviews), another name would perhaps be helpful.

(Though I find this topic very interesting, I haven't read all postings in this thread. So please apologize if a suggestion like this has already been made.)
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February 19th, 2014, 14:38
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
@Kostas

The NTHs have some overlaps, because they are not part of the definition. They are only there to characterize the game further and more freely - a feature checklist - nothing more.
I feel you're underselling the NtHs. At least when trying out the test it felt like they were closer to an elaboration of the MHs than static informative blurps like Section II.

If I put social interactivity etc. in the MUST HAVEs early Wizardries and other early dungeon crawlers would not reach the CRPG tag.
I'm glad you brought up the Wizardries. In my search to understand just why was IWD so one-dimensional (combat and combat-related CharDev) I ran into plenty of comparisons with the Wizardry series and must admit (bear with my absolute pre-97 ignorance) was surprised by the likelihood of one of the 3 main "classic" series (I perceived the Ultimas, the M&Ms and the Wiz games to be those) being so one-dimensional and limiting. Again this is all very subjective but I feel that the vast majority (can apply the term regular gameplay practice if you will) of IWD was much closer to the Diablos that to any other "recognized" cRPGs I've played. I'd go as far as saying that even the much maligned "action"-RPGs (Gothic 1-3, VtmB, Mass Effects, Fallout 3, The Witchers, Two Worlds(?)…) are closer.


I guess following from my understanding of the NtHs being more elaborative than additional I think closing the biggest discrepancies (like story MHs 75% vs 27% NtHs) by enriching/encumbering the MHs is what a (story-focused?) person like me would like.

/rant
PS:
the current vBulletin formating is a pain in the ass -> but it looks good, doesn't it?
It does but either some sort of form as Arhu said or live formatting support (wink wink Arhu ) would be a tremendous improvement.

Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Well, there are hubs like the Severed Hand where you can visit different towers and explore them, so to speak, in any order you wish. The game is fairly linear, but I wouldn't call it a railroad either, so I'd say it qualifies.
Didn't think of that case. I guess Ch6 and possibly Ch5 (doing Joril's or the salamandra's slaves first) can also qualify. To be honest I couldn't with good heart give it a yes which would put it on the same level as the Fallouts and the (albeit extremely formulated) Bioware style games.
As for the question marks in your text, we could add some examples like in other bullet points.
I compiled a quick list of points that I just wasn't sure whether IWD qualified for:
Spoiler – NtHs

The reasoning for that was that combat is a meta category related to the other three categories. Your example actually shows this very well: you can avoid combat through stats in IWD (good for character development), but not through exploration or dialogue (bad for exploration and story). So just with these three points we can start to gauge where the (combat related) focus is in a game.
Fair enough. I can see it with a complete post but couldn't see it amongst the flurry of formating.

Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
*snipped*
I tend to agree but it feels like the goal of the definition was mainly to provide a binary (cRPG/not cRPG) categorization rather than a qualitative judgment a point which I guess can be argued to eternity.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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February 19th, 2014, 14:47
I agree with Arhu in that the game does offer more than you make out. For example, you gave definitive no's to these:

S7: your choices have consequences no
S8: advancing in the story requires thought (=> e.g. irreversible choices, moral dilemma, riddles, ) no
Combat can be avoided through sneaking or gameworld manipulation.
Combat can be avoided through dialogue.
Directional facing plays a role (=> e.g. more damage from behind, flanking)
Characters don't die immediately but can be revived during combat.
Your choices can have consequences. Since you are able to attack virtually all NPCs you can limit your quest options and even lose the game by making evil choices or unfortunate choices. It's not a major aspect of play, but it is there. So, wouldn't this also feed into S8 to an extent. Also, advancing isn't always cut and dried as the quest Kresselak gives you involves a mystery, for example. Defeating Poquelin is a puzzle during a battle. Again, it's not a major aspect, but there are elements there.

You can avoid battles by sneaking past creatures or using invisibility and combat can be avoided by dialogue, as I've already evidenced in another thread with you on the subject of this game, it just doesn't happen very often, but it is there, and more than once. A Rogue can increase their damage from attacking from behind afaik. Players don't fully die in combat, there are options to revive them if you meet the requirements (such as either cost or spell level).

(Story) You can find and recruit new party members
This is an interesting definition where IWD is concerned. While the game does not have NPCs joining your party at all, if you play with imagination you can create these kind of events at any moment, because in IWD you can delete (or have die) party members at any time and them immediately replace them by creating a new one without reloading the game. Feel you are struggling without a Rouge in the party? Simply delete your spare tank and create a new Rogue character, they will level up quite quick. And you can do this at any point in the game (just be careful not to delete a character you don't want to delete, lol), and few games offer this kind of new party member freedom. But, yes, none of it is strictly story-instigated.

Linearity
This is very much a "how long is a piece of string?" topic. By comparison to the game's immediate peers, PS:T, BG2, NWN, Fallout, then, yes, if the shop only sold these kind of games then IWD would indeed be the 'Linear' descriptor and that is how I would describe it.

However, for academic analysis purposes, there are a vast number of games to compare IWD to and to dump it in the same category as, say, Aarklash: Legacy would be somewhat of a travesty.

By being experienced with the game you can skip a really quite large percentage of the game's contents and still complete the game. This suggests it's not entirely linear. In fact, practically every screen offers you 'optional' areas, some of which even experienced players don't even know exist (the most famous being the Goblins being eaten by the insects, insects eating Goblins screens). And also here the definition of 'secret areas' is somewhat evident as such things as the Holy Avenger might be considered a 'secret area' as a regular player would likely never find it unless told where to look.

So I agree with Arhu in that examples of many of the points can be found, it's just that the game doesn't particularly prioritise these factors. Compared to GTA V Icewind Dale is linear. Compared to Aarklash: Legacy IWD is positively sandbox.
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February 19th, 2014, 14:59
Again this is all very subjective but I feel that the vast majority (can apply the term regular gameplay practice if you will) of IWD was much closer to the Diablos that to any other "recognized" cRPGs I've played.
Diablo is a single player campaign where DPS is everything.
Diablo respawns all monsters.
Diablo has swords dropping from rats.
Diablo has skill trees.

I really think you need to take a step back from comparing action as like for like simply because both games prioritise monster killing as a primary function. I don't know where you first got the obsession that IWD is a diabloesque game, but it seems to be a point your more interested in trying to prove than disprove.

They both prioritise monster killing - that's about the only valid comparison - lots and lots of cRPGs only really prioritise monster killing, even if they then add further layers of varied interaction on top of that. BG2 involved 'a damn lot of killing'. To completely deprioritise killing you're even further across the slider from PS:T.
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February 19th, 2014, 15:29
I ought to know better but for the purposes of this thread:
Originally Posted by MinorityReport View Post
I agree with Arhu in that the game does offer more than you make out. For example, you gave definitive no's to these:
S7: your choices have consequences – no
S8: advancing in the story requires thought (=> e.g. irreversible choices, moral dilemma, riddles, …) – no
Your choices can have consequences. Since you are able to attack virtually all NPCs you can limit your quest options and even lose the game by making evil choices or unfortunate choices. It's not a major aspect of play, but it is there. So, wouldn't this also feed into S8 to an extent. Also, advancing isn't always cut and dried as the quest Kresselak gives you involves a mystery, for example. Defeating Poquelin is a puzzle during a battle. Again, it's not a major aspect, but there are elements there.
The murdering everyone and the vast majority of the evil options are about as useful to our assessing the game as the I'm an a-hole, I won't take your quest options in Bioware games. My decision was based on a function of frequency and depth.

I feel the plausible overall mystery and in particular Kresselak falls under III. iii. 4. It certainly doesn't exist in a degree that would justify a higher Story score.

There's no way in hell S8 could be a yes. Unless you're suggesting that S8 needs some rework?

Combat can be avoided through sneaking or gameworld manipulation.
Combat can be avoided through dialogue.
You can avoid battles by sneaking past creatures or using invisibility and combat can be avoided by dialogue, as I've already evidenced in another thread with you on the subject of this game, it just doesn't happen very often, but it is there, and more than once.
Skipping battles by sneaking is the practical equivalent of a speedrun, just like the companion bit later in the post. Sure the game and its engine allows for it but that's hardly how the game is played or meant to be assessed.

Directional facing plays a role (=> e.g. more damage from behind, flanking)
A Rogue can increase their damage from attacking from behind afaik.
Thought about this but opted for a no as it's a terribly isolated example which in view of the options presented in other games would make saying yes rather ingenuous.
Characters don't die immediately but can be revived during combat.
Players don't fully die in combat, there are options to revive them if you meet the requirements (such as either cost or spell level).
The wording of this point was a bit confusing, think it's the double negative(?). Reading this again looks like I was wrong. Still not quite sure.

Originally Posted by MinorityReport View Post
I don't know where you first got the obsession that IWD is a diabloesque game.
Its first couple of chapters and its design goals:
Originally Posted by Chris Avellone
Competing with Diablo was one of the goals handed to us from up high
Source

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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February 19th, 2014, 15:29
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
I tend to agree but it feels like the goal of the definition was mainly to provide a binary (cRPG/not cRPG) categorization rather than a qualitative judgment a point which I guess can be argued to eternity.
Right, without a well defined model you could argue to eternity. But the SHs in your model are quite strict, so that very much limits possible discussion.
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February 19th, 2014, 15:34
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
Right, without a well defined model you could argue to eternity. But the SHs in your model are quite strict, so that very much limits possible discussion.
I'm all for it. Would like to hear HiddenX's and Arhu's take.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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February 19th, 2014, 16:04
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
The murdering everyone and the vast majority of the evil options are about as useful to our assessing the game as the [I]I'm an a-hole
I was also thinking of the consequences of Pickpocketing, a mechanic that is a small part but does offer genuine consequences. If the game allowed Pickpocketing but with no consequence for failure, that would be a different quality distinction to a game which offered Pickpocketing with consequences.

Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
Its first couple of chapters and its design goals:
Well, as we know from the news section, the designers of Whitcher 3 are claiming direct competition to Skyrim, but does that mean Witcher 3 is going to be described as Elder Scrollsesque in the future?

Yes, Icewind Dale was designed to appeal to people who like to prioritise monster killing and have less to read - but the end products of the two are so completely different in every other way as to be incomparable other than in the loosest possible definitions.

The first couple of chapters? I have no idea what you mean. At the start of Diablo 2 you walk into a field and start killing hoards of rats. In Icewind Dale, the first screen has a variety of small quests from killing a single monster to go-fetch quests and the 4 rats you kill don't drop anything, and it's all completely optional. Did you get the dagger from the ghost quest? Did you get the drunkard some wine? Etc.

It would make for a discussion if you gave examples. It seems you don't wish to discuss with me, I have no idea why.

You offer no examples and just state definites without definition. "the first couple of chapters" - I mean, like what? That's hardly either an academic or scientific statement is it.

But fine, you don't want to talk to me - WHATEVER. Laters. [I've only played it 4 or 5 times and know it like the back of my hand, what good am I in a discussion with a guy who's input is "the first couple of chapters"]
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February 19th, 2014, 16:37
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
I'm all for it. Would like to hear HiddenX's and Arhu's take.
A numerical vector (MH = 70% SH = 75% NtH = 45%) would only make sense in a mathematical way when you can make 2 assumptions:

1) Each entry in each list is equally important.
2) If game A has more CRPG elements than game B => game A is better than B

I have my problems with the assumptions 1) 2).

I prefer a reviewer that uses the checklists and make comments when something is different, unclear, unusual or needs some explanation.
A final numerical value/vector is not really necessary.

PS:
Another problem occurs if the checklists are changing over time.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; February 19th, 2014 at 17:19.
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February 19th, 2014, 16:53
I've just remembered a definite puzzle to advance section. In upper Dorns Deep you have to step on the right icons on the circular grid in the right order in order to descend. This is quite definitely a puzzle to proceed moment and cannot be argued otherwise.
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February 19th, 2014, 17:28
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
A numerical vector (MH = 70% SH = 75% NtH = 45%) would only make sense in a mathematical way when you can make 2 assumptions:

1) Each entry in each list is equally important.
2) If game a A has more CRPG elements than game B => game A is better than B

I have my problems with the assumptions 1) 2).
(..)
A final numerical value/vector is not really necessary.
I tend to agree in regard to values for MH/SH, those values probably don't really say anything, because we use those two for our "CRPG classification" or "definition". They describe more qualitative characteristics.

In regard to the NtH list, however, I hold that they do say something, as they are more quantitative: with numbers we can quickly see how much focus is in which area and quickly compare games. E.g. IWD: focus on character development / combat, not a lot on story or exploration.


Based on Kostas' review we can make the following concise statement about IWD:
  1. Icewind Dale is a CRPG.
  2. Icewind Dale is an isometric western-style single-player party-based dungeon crawler with rogue-like, hack&slash gameplay, RTwP combat, in a whimsical fantasy setting.
  3. Icewind Dale focuses on character development, offers some exploration but only few story elements. It provides moderate tactical combat options:

    Character Development: 69% (23/33)
    Exploration: 48% (14/29)
    Story: 27% (8/29)
    Combat (Meta): 41% (10/24)
That describes the game rather well, doesn't it?


Going to reply to some other points raised in my absence tomorrow when I have more time.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; February 19th, 2014 at 17:41.
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February 19th, 2014, 17:54
Re: story (27%)

There are many side quests.
He answered no. The answer is yes. The definition of many is the crux.

Dialogue is fleshed out (=> there are multiple options in one conversation).
He answered no. There are many ways to answer people and dialogue, when it is there, is very descriptive and fleshed out. Arundel's or Larrel's dialogue for example is very meaty. There might not be consequences for the dialogue options, but there are multiple options, this category does not state consequences are imperative to this question.

Combat can be avoided through dialogue.
He replied no with "Not in any meaningful way" which is nonsense. If you choose not to kill someone, it's pretty damn meaningful for that NPC. I'm sorry, but this is pure bias, there is opportunities to avoid conflict. Twisting the answer to someone's bias of 'meaningful' is absurd if this is a mathematical objective appreciation.

You can reasonably do what you want when you want to do it (=> quest order doesn't matter much.)
He answered no. However, for most side quests you can come back and do them later, or at a time to suit yourself if you so wish. The main quest order matters, like any RPG, but side quests do not vanish because you advance and you can go back and do them at a later date if you so wish. The little boy will be locked in the cupboard if you miss that bit in the first chapter or if you choose to go back and save him while in the last chapter. Like-wise Conlon's son, The islolated mage's herbal formula etc etc etc.

Some quests rule others out.
Yes, you can invalidate one quest by choosing another in the Ice Museum where you can choose to side with the Salamanders or the slaves.

Quests can be solved in more than one way.
Yes, if you can have a peaceful outcome or a combat outcome, then that qualifies as a yes for this question.

By a more 'fair' definition, the game would get at least 45% for story.

The poster wishes to impose their own definition to the questions (such as perceived 'meaningful way'), so, no, the score of 27% for story is, of course, not a fair descriptor.

A fair descriptor would be story 50% but don't expect the various categories to feature heavily in the game-play.
Last edited by MinorityReport; February 19th, 2014 at 18:04.
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February 19th, 2014, 20:50
@MinorityReport

My last playthrough through the Icewind Dale series lies 10 years back.
So I can't really comment on all the NtH elements - I simply don't remember everything.

One rule in general:
Look at the whole game, not just for one example/situation to judge over a feature.

There are many side quests.
This means this game features "many" side quests not just a handful.

Quests can be solved in more than one way.
This means NOT:
There is one quest that could be solved in two or three ways.
It means:
The game features mechanics (stat based, skill based and/or dialogue based) to solve quests in more in one way.

Dialogue is fleshed out (=> there are multiple options in one conversation).
This means NOT:
There are a handful of dialogs with 5 options.
It means:
The games features multiple dialog options on a regular basis.

You get it - you can only say "yes" to these kind of features if they are in the game on a regular basis and not by accident.

I think this is the difference between your and Kostas' view.
Maybe some of our CRPG element definitions are still not exact enough, but I don't like to speak like a lawyer

PS:
Keep in mind:
Often not all options of a game can be seen in one playthrough.
One situation can be impressive for one reviewer and not so impressive for another.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; February 19th, 2014 at 21:28.
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Tags
character development, combat, crpg, exploration, story
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